The human side of robo advice

By Guest contributor, Nelson Vauxhall
26-Jul-2017 16:34:36

With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, there are buzzwords and phrases that are necessary to describe the applications that are starting to become the new norm. One of those phrases is ‘robo advice.’Robo advice salemove blog image.jpg

In order to understand what robo advice is, specifically in its abilities to create a better customer experience for wealth advisers and managers, it’s important to get a grasp of  the definition. Here is a succinct description provided by Wikipedia and quoted by Forbes: Robo advisers are a class of financial adviser that provide financial advice or portfolio management online with minimal human intervention.

That refers to chat-bots and AI models that are loaded with pre-written responses to frequently asked customer questions.

Here’s the thing though. As robo advice for wealth management is still in its infancy, there are a lot of questions about the shelf life of the model and how it impacts customer experience.

The main questions are:

Is demand for robo advice growing?

It is, but at what expense? Singapore, for example, is embracing robo advice as it has been eyeing regulatory demands that will allow for its growth by attracting fintech firms that are seeking growth in Asia. The model is well established and advanced in the US, too, with many firms having switched to hybrid models, whereby they offer robo advice alongside a more traditional, face to face advice model. This is something that we are starting to see in the UK as well, with firms adding to their traditional advice models with robo propositions. The cost of servicing online only clients is far less than that of offering a full scale, face to face advice chain.

With more clients seeking, and more firms offering, robo advice solutions, the pros and cons of course need to be weighed up. Looking back at the Forbes article; we continue, we arrive at ‘minimal human intervention.’ When it comes to managing your money, minimal human intervention can be good or bad. The good comes when the algorithms and mathematical rules produce an asset allocation that is sensible for the purpose for which it is intended. The good also comes when the ‘human adviser’ interjects personal preferences and judgments that are in the client's ‘best interest.’

Of course, the bad is when a customer feels like their personal needs are being ignored for the sake of technology and efficiency. It’s easy to put what is essentially a robot on the case.

While most customers probably wouldn’t mind having their morning cup of coffee made by a robot, it’s a different thing altogether when we are talking about a prospect’s financial future. But then again, when a cup of coffee could so easily be made by a robot, we seem to really love going to Starbucks…

It is a case of affordability on the part of the client, a full scale face to face financial advice offering is unnecessarily expensive for many, so the lighter touch, robo model is a far more appealing way to start growing personal wealth.

Is there any validity to the reports that auto-advisory may be crashing?

While so many companies are jumping on the AI bandwagon, there are reports that customers are feeling some consternation with the autobots. This executive summary reports that while Schwab and Vanguard launched competing auto-advisory programmes, they led to a drop in their growth rates by two thirds from their previous year.

What is the future of the auto-advisory model?

It’s all about implementing a vehicle and suite of services that embraces and utilises the convenience that technology brings, without sacrificing the human touch that customers look for and, to a large degree, expect.

For wealth advisers seeking to embrace a robo offering within their existing business, the best models are those that they can merge within their existing infrastructure. All in one solutions also offer advisers complete solutions, incorporating CRM, client engagement and robo advice in one place.

To put it simply, the best solutions combine real time customer/provider interactions with the cutting edge technology that today’s customers expect.

SaleMove and Intelliflo

SaleMove recently partnered with Intelliflo’s market leading Intelligent Office (iO) solution. Essentially, we believe that technology should enhance the human interaction, not replace it. That’s why our vision at SaleMove is to recreate the in-person customer experience online. Now you can communicate with your clients and customers from anywhere with video, voice, chat and CoBrowsing directly through your iO and Personal Finance Portal (PFP) accounts. Doing so saves you time and money by minimising travel, while maintaining a high touch experience for your clients in a completely secure fashion.

Interested in learning more about SaleMove’s partnership with Intelliflo and how you can get started with a complimentary licence today? Contact us here: